Philips DCP850 Portable DVD Player Review

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Having traveled quite a bit in the last six months I really could have used a portable DVD player to drown out the roar of the engines, the terrible movie choices made by the airline, the crying baby two seats over, or the constant jibber-jabber from my girlfriend (just joking, M). While I haven’t had any flights during the review of the Philips DCP850, I have had a handful of train rides over 1.5 hours, including yesterday when an annoying douche sat in front of me and thought he was the next Great White Rapper. This definitely isn’t your run-of-the-mill portable DVD player either. It has a few tricks up its sleeve.

The DCP850 offers a wide-range of video playback from multiple sources other than a DVD. You can hook up your video iPod (it also charges your iPod) and play back all your iTunes content. You can also watch burned DVDs that have DivX files on them and listen to MP3 CDs. If you have your SD or MMC card handy then you can hook those up as well and view your pictures on the massive swiveling 8.5-inch LCD screen. Can you say convergence device? I thought so.

The 850 also includes an IR remote that sits flush into the iPod dock and lets you control every function and feature the DCP850 employs. The remote was a tad too wide for me, but I’m just a nitpicky sort of guy. Another thing I liked about the 850 are the dual 3.5mm headphone jacks that let you snuggle close with someone without having to use a splitter or being the lame duo who each get one earbud. There’s also an AV-in and AV-out plug allowing you to take advantage of the included RCA cables, so you can connect to your home entertainment center or a hotel TV. The standard volume and brightness control are also integrated with the other plugs. A cigarette lighter adapter is also included for those long car rides.

However, it’s not all peaches and cream for the DCP850. The first thing I noticed was the amount of vibration generated when DVDs are starting up. If felt like it would take off at any moment. The speakers are sub-par and I found myself plugging in my ‘phones more than anything else. The battery life when playing back DVDs was around 2 hours and not the 2.5 Philips boasts, but I had the brightness level cranked all the way up. Video playback on the iPod lasted much longer at just over 4.5 hours. If you intend on using the DCP850 on a flight then I suggest you upload video content to your iPod. The biggest downfall of this device, though, is the lack of iPod controls. You can’t navigate through the menus via the IR remote and you’re basically using it to play and pause your music.

Overall, the DCP850 does everything you’d want a portable DVD player to do and the iPod video functionality is great, but the battery life and lack of a battery backup solution could make you think twice about purchasing it for $199.99.

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